New Dugout Branded Content Report Unveiled at London Symposium

London, UK – 27 June 2019: New research released today by Dugout, the world’s only football club-owned media company, reveals branded football content is emerging as the sport’s primary sponsorship activation tool.

More than half (56%) of senior marketers surveyed as part of the 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report – a collaboration between Dugout and strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory – are likely to invest in branded content. This compares to just 41% for traditional sponsorship activations such as perimeter signage or kit sponsorship.

The report additionally revealed that in the next two years more than a third of marketing, media and sponsorship budgets will be dedicated to content. In 2018, 31% (£15.5bn) of a total global sport sponsorship annual spend of £50.1bn went towards branded content. This is predicted to rise to 33.4% by 2021, and with further growth forecast in the sports sponsorship market, this means an additional £1.5bn is likely to be spent on content annually. 30% of senior marketers believe that in the future, brands that do not invest in content will fail.

The 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report was launched at Dugout’s 2nd International Commercial and Content Symposium in London today.

At the Symposium, Dugout also announced that, for the first time in its history, the platform surpassed 30 million monthly users and 127 million monthly video views – a landmark moment for the company and its community of clubs that is in line with the planned strategy for long-term, steady and sustainable global audience growth.

The Symposium brought together senior figures from many of the world’s leading clubs – including Dugout’s founding partners FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, FC Bayern Munich and Juventus FC – as well as brands, agencies and publishers to discuss the report and look at ways to drive deeper fan engagement through a collaborative approach.

Dugout Executive Chairman, Elliot Richardson, said: “It was fantastic to welcome so many clubs and partners to our Commercial and Content Symposium in London today at such an exciting time for Dugout and the future of branded content. Dugout’s ongoing and sustainable growth is driven by our collaborative approach with brands, clubs and publishers using our unique club ownership model, which allows us to work in close partnership to create and deliver high-quality, original and compelling football content directly to fans.

“What the 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report shows is that the modern fan is engaging with football content in new and exciting ways. Advances in technology and the rapidly evolving media and social media landscape have transformed the fan experience and the way brands engage their audiences through sport. In future, brands that fail to embrace content as a key driver of engagement will fall behind.”

Further key points from the 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report:

  • 55% of fans are in favour of branded football content because it provides greater access to players and other stories, for example, behind-the-scenes at clubs.
  • 70% of fans said they were more likely to watch football content if it can be viewed across any device.
  • 69% of fans find footage from the past powerful .
  • 71% of fans are eager to learn the history of the club they follow
  • 30% of fans trust clubs more than other public institutions, such as governments (3%).

In addition, four leading cross-sector experts provided their thoughts in a series of in-depth interviews:

Chelsea FC Commercial Director, Chris Townsend OBE, added: “The activation of sponsorships is critical and brands have to work extremely hard to activate in their key territories. Content represents an effective way of achieving as much engagement with fans as possible, enabling brands to get real value out of their sponsorships.”

FC Bayern Munich Director of Media, Digital and Communication, Stefan Mennerich, added: “As video and visual content becomes more important in our world, it becomes more important for sponsors. The vast majority are now activating their sponsorships this way, tailoring content for different target groups.”

Dow Jones Head of Sport and Newscorp Global Head of Rights, Simon Greenberg, added: “Branded content is playing a much more important role than previously. It drives much higher value across the media landscape, and in particular, the football landscape.”

M&C Saatchi Sports and Entertainment Global CEO, Steve Martin, added: “Branded content is not going away, and it’s going to get bigger and bigger. The opportunity is considerable in the sporting world, and in football specifically.”


Download The Full 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report Chapters One And Two Below:

Chapter One


Chapter Two

Kia Motors Appoints Dugout And Right Formula To Activate Uefa Europa League Partnership

Kia Motors Corporation has appointed Dugout and Right Formula on a long term deal to activate the brand’s UEFA Europa League partnership. Both organisations will work hand-in-hand with Kia in South Korea and Europe, as well as working alongside TEAM Marketing, UEFA’s exclusive marketing agency for club competitions; the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup. 

Dugout’s unique position in the world of football (including unprecedented access to the top clubs and players) will give Kia a presence in the sport in a way that has never been seen before. Industry leading sports marketing agency Right Formula brings more than a decade’s experience and expertise in sponsorship strategy and activation for global brands across multiple sports. 



Activations and content for Kia will be created to drive the sponsorship and build a greater affinity with football fans on a global level to further increase awareness of the Kia brand. The UEFA Europa League sponsorship began with activations to recruit Official Match Ball Carriers for each fixture  whilst original content strands were launched to empower fans, including the UEFA Europa League Weekly magazine show, featuring player interviews, behind the scenes access, tips for UEFA Europa League Daily Fantasy and exclusive fan stories from across the competition.

This content is featured on The Kia Home of Football on the Dugout platform (view here), and is used across Kia’s Global markets. Dugout produce numerous exclusive episodes strategically devised to enhance the connection between Kia and UEFA Europa League fans. This content is supported with extensive promotion across Dugout’s social media channels as well as Kia’s channels worldwide. 

Right Formula have devised and managed a number of activation concepts, the latest of which is the inaugural UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour driven by Kia.



The Tour will give football fans across Europe the opportunity to see the iconic UEFA Europa League trophy as the competition’s 2018/19 knockout stage unfolds.

Throughout the duration of the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour, fans and players of all ages will be encouraged to donate used and unwanted boots. In partnership with the UEFA Foundation for children, the boots will be taken to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan to be given to Syrian refugees of all ages.

Right Formula will manage the operation of the Tour from Geneva to this year’s UEFA Europa League Final in Baku, stopping in Seville, Berlin, London, Milan, Moscow and Paris in between. Content will be created and amplified by Dugout across the range of Kia and UEFA owned social media channels.



Kia Motors General Manager of Brand Promotion, Michael Choo, said: “As Kia’s premier sponsorship property for the European region, the UEFA Europa League is the perfect platform to create closer engagement with football fans across Europe and beyond, and we believe that authenticity lies at the core of any successful brand interaction with such passionate audiences.

Dugout and Right Formula possess unrivaled sports marketing expertise and strategic tie-ups with professional football clubs throughout Europe, as well as an infectious love for the game of football; and our close collaboration has resulted in creative, relevant and impactful content that is then amplified through Dugout, UEFA and Kia social channels. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with Dugout and Right Formula as we continue to surprise and empower football fans around the world.”

Dugout President, Matthew Baxter, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to announce this long-term partnership with Kia Motors especially at a time when brands involved in football sponsorship are constantly seeking new ways of strengthening the relationship and engagement amongst football fans.  

Through Dugout’s unprecedented access to our partner clubs, we have created Kia’s ‘Home of Football’ and filmed hours of exclusive behind the scenes content making this a truly ground breaking partnership.  

“As the fastest growing mainstream brand in its industry, Kia share our ambitions to have relationships with fans both on a local and global level which we know will establish the key foundations for a very special long-term relationship”.

Right Formula Founder and CEO, Robin Fenwick commented: “Right Formula are proud and thrilled to be working so closely with Kia Motors. We pride ourselves in helping our clients realise their objectives from the powerful partnerships they form and we are excited about helping Kia do just that. 

We specifically intend to help Kia strengthen their engagement with fans across Europe through strategic and creative activations that will help them stand out as a dynamic and young at heart brand. 

Together with Dugout we are hugely enthusiastic about harnessing the impressive UEFA Europa League platform in order to deliver strong business results for Kia.’’  


NOTES TO EDITORS

About Dugout

Dugout represents the first time the world’s biggest clubs have joined forces to support a new business. Since launching in November 2016, 86 clubs, National Football Federations and Leagues have all signed partnerships with the platform. 

Each club and player has a dedicated Dugout profile to upload content and interact with fans and Dugout users get a totally personalised experience based on the clubs and players they follow. 

Dugout works with its partners to create high-quality, original content, which includes videos from clubs that are exclusive to Dugout, lifestyle and personal updates from players, and original video series featuring ball skills and tricks from players that can’t be seen anywhere else.

Dugout.com launched in November 2016, followed by the app in March 2017.

About Right Formula

Right Formula are an award-winning strategic sports marketing agency. Founded in 2009, the business has assembled some of the finest talent in the industry to provide vast experience and unique insights in the world of sports and entertainment partnerships. Working closely with large, global brands such as Hilton, SAP, Pirelli, Sky Sports, Red Bull and Logitech, Right Formula devises and implements strategic activation that maximises the business results from their partnerships.

Dugout Announces New £8.275 Million ($11.685 Million) Investment

FRIDAY 27th APRIL 2018, London – Digital football business Dugout today revealed details of new investment that will see the company expand its existing operations, as well as ambitious partnership plans to enhance its technology offering and support growth in the MENA region.

Dugout represents the first time the world’s biggest clubs have joined forces to create a business – with founding partners including AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid CF, Inter Milan, Roma, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid and more.

All 77 clubs (and a growing number of players) have a dedicated Dugout profile to upload content and interact with fans, meaning that Dugout users get a totally personalised experience based on the clubs and players they follow. The business launched in late 2016 and has already gathered over 67 million unique users and 912 million video views to date. Dugout has a social footprint of 2.1 billion and over 12,500 videos have been posted on the platform by clubs, players and brands

Today, Dugout has announced an additional £8.275 million investment led by renowned US entrepreneurs Frank and David McCourt, alongside a number of other strategic smaller-scale investors. The £8.275 million investment reflects the rapid growth of the business and its expanding network of partners across football, business, media, technology and brand advertising.

Frank McCourt, Chairman and CEO of McCourt LP and McCourt Global, is well known to sports fans as the owner of Olympique De Marseille and former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. His brother David – one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs – is the founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital, worldwide investors in technology, media and telecommunications. David is also the founder of ALTV.com, one of the fastest growing free streaming services in the MENA region.

David McCourt, Founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital, said:

“Dugout represents an excellent opportunity to capitalize on two significant global trends. Firstly, the huge demand for great, original and highly-personalized content. Secondly, the soaring popularity of football in practically every market. Dugout has already done what many thought impossible by bringing the world’s top clubs together in one shared enterprise. Now, we want to use this excellent foundation to grow a truly iconic company that inspires fans and brands the world over.”

“Our collaboration with Dugout will also enhance the company’s tech capabilities and enable it to grow its audience in strategically important markets. For example, the partnership between Dugout and ALTV will deliver exclusive access to original content for football fans across the Middle East and North Africa.”

Elliot Richardson, Founder and Chairman of Dugout, said:

“We are delighted to have secured both the Series A funding round and strategic capital investment, led by Frank and David McCourt. Frank and David bring with them decades of commercial success, experience and entrepreneurial zeal – they are fantastic partners as we move into the next phase of our development as a business.”

“We’re thrilled with how popular the platform has proven so far with fans, as well as the brands and commercial partners we’ve brought into the fold. This investment keeps that momentum going and partnerships with innovators like ALTV and Alchemy Media both enhance our technology offering and open up key markets like the Middle East and North Africa, where we know our club partners have such huge support.”

Dugout has recently announced a number of other strategic partnerships designed to support the business’ objective of expanding its global presence. For example, in December Dugout launched a partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS) – boosting the brand’s global profile and tapping into the growing popularity of football in North America. Today’s announcement highlights the company’s focus on MENA, although Dugout is expected to make further announcements in the coming weeks about other territories and partnerships.

This approach reflects Dugout’s core belief in “localisation of content” – giving partners and brands detailed analytics that enable them to better understand audience behaviour and tastes in specific markets, in order to boost fan engagement and unlock potential.

The company has also signed deals with innovative tech companies like VEWD, SPOTX Rakuten/Viber and Amazon to reach more users and provide brands advertising on the platform with better engagement, cutting-edge user consumer targeting and detailed analytics.

Dugout was initially available in eight languages: English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese and Bahasa (Indonesian), with Arabic to be added in the coming months.

Akira Partners acted as Financial Advisors to Dugout on this transaction

Dugout Agrees To Acquire Ballball And Form Strategic Alliance With News Corp To Drive Asia Growth

Tuesday 13th March 2018, London – Unique digital football business Dugout and News Corp today revealed plans for the landmark acquisition by Dugout of News Corp’s mobile and online platform ballball, which delivers near- live highlights of the world’s leading football leagues and other great content to the fastest growing football markets in South-East Asia.

The move highlights Dugout’s focus on expanding its global presence and providing football fans around the world with access to the best content from the biggest football clubs and players in the world.

Dugout represents the first time the world’s biggest clubs have joined forces to create a business – with partners including AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid CF, FC Internazionale Milano, AS Roma, SSC Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, Atlético De Madrid and more.

ballball.com was launched by News Corp in August 2013 and is now one of the leading football video platforms in South-East Asia. The platform distributes an unprecedented collection of short-form highlights from European and other top football leagues to the region – generating 800 million video views during the 2017-18 football season.

The agreement to acquire ballball will see Dugout showcase the mobile and online platform’s unique aggregation of football content in two key territories – Vietnam and Indonesia – through a ballball section on the Dugout platform, with plans to expand into other countries in the region. From today, the best of Dugout’s content will also be showcased on ballball.com.

The acquisition will lead to the creation of a new Dugout entity – Dugout SE Asia – which will be headquartered in Singapore and will lead the expansion of Dugout in the region.

While parent company Dugout will be the majority shareholder of Dugout SE Asia, News Corp will also have a stake in the new business. This strategic partnership will include senior News Corp executive Simon Greenberg sitting on the board of Dugout SE Asia.

Elliot Richardson, Founder and Chairman of Dugout, said: “We are delighted to have agreed the purchase of ballball, which has been hugely successful in bringing great football content from the world’s best leagues to fans in South-East Asia. We’re now looking forward to complementing that platform with Dugout’s unique ingredient: embedded partnerships and access to the best players and clubs in the world.”

“Our aim with Dugout was to make it the digital football destination of choice by aligning clubs/players with brands and fans. We have already created over 15,000 hours of exclusive video content with our partners, and with access to incredible archive and new content themes, this will unlock more stories for fans to view of the clubs and players they love. The purchase of ballball will show the continued momentum behind the business and the chance to work with News Corp as a partner is so exciting. We know that South-East Asia is a hugely important territory for football clubs and the brands we work with, so we look forward to giving football fans in the region a great experience.”

Simon Greenberg, News Corp’s Global Head of Rights and future Dugout SE Asia board member, said: “We are very excited that News Corp is forging this new partnership with Dugout, a unique business that brings with it incredible connections across the world of football. In today’s rapidly changing media environment, it’s essential to work with strong and innovative partners like Dugout that recognise the value of premium content.”

“With football the fastest growing sport in the world – and Asia the fastest growing region – we launched ballball on mobile, the fastest growing platform, in 2013 and we are very proud of all that’s been achieved since. The team has built an unparalleled digital expertise and reputation to make it the go-to mobile destination for football highlights in the region. Dugout recognises the value of that work and together we can use this foundation to create a very compelling mobile offering for the many millions of football fans in SE Asia.”

All 77 clubs (and a growing number of players) on Dugout have a dedicated profile to upload content and interact with fans, meaning that Dugout users get a totally personalised experience based on the clubs and players they follow. The business launched in late 2016 and has already gathered over 67 million unique users and 912 million video views to date. Dugout has a social footprint of 2.1 billion and over 12,500 videos have been posted on the platform by clubs, players and brands.

Dugout has recently announced a number of other strategic partnerships to support the business’ objective of expanding its global presence. For example, in December Dugout launched a partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS) – boosting the brand’s global profile and tapping into the growing popularity of football in North America.

This approach reflects Dugout’s core belief in “localisation of content” – giving partners and brands detailed analytics that enable them to better understand audience behaviour and tastes in specific markets, in order to boost fan engagement.

The company has also signed deals with innovative tech companies like VEWD, SPOTX, Rakuten/Viber and Amazon to reach more users and provide brands advertising on the platform with better engagement, cutting-edge user consumer targeting and detailed analytics.

– ENDS – NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information and interview requests please contact: Dugout Press Office:

dugoutpressoffice@freuds.com / +44 203 003 6613 / +44 7756 274 944

News Corp Corporate Communications:

Jim Kennedy

212-416-4064

jkennedy@newscorp.com

News Corp Investor Relations:

Michael Florin 212-416-3363 mflordin@newscorp.com

About ballball

ballball.com was launched by News Corp in August 2013 and is now one of the leading football video platforms in South-East Asia. It distributes short form highlights from Europe and other top football leagues in Indonesia and Vietnam and in the 2017-18 season ballball generated 800 million video views for this content, representing 966% growth FY15-FY17.

ballball is the 4th largest football destination on Facebook in both Indonesia and Vietnam (combined population 340 million+) and has developed partnerships and distribution with a number of regional blue-chip partners from the digital media and telco sectors to further maximise its reach.

ballball is based in Singapore and has a staff of 5, as well as freelancers and in-market translation teams. The rights content agreements are held by ballball.com’s parent company NWS Digital Asia Pte Ltd, which remains a News Corp owned subsidiary.

About Dugout

Dugout represents the first time the world’s biggest clubs have joined forces to support a business. Since launching in December 2016, 77 clubs, one National Football Federation and two Leagues have all signed partnerships with the platform.

Each club and player has a dedicated Dugout profile to upload content and interact with fans and Dugout users get a totally personalised experience based on the clubs and players they follow.

Dugout works with its partners to create high-quality, original content, both using unrivalled social reach and on platform which includes videos from clubs that are exclusive to Dugout, lifestyle and personal updates from players, and original video series featuring ball skills and tricks from players that can’t be seen anywhere else.

For details on b2b offering, please go to www.dugoutworldwide.com 

About News Corp

News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) is a global, diversified media and information services company focused on creating and distributing authoritative and engaging content to consumers throughout the world. The company comprises businesses across a range of media, including: news and information services, book publishing, digital real estate services, and cable network programming and pay-TV distribution in Australia. Headquartered in New York, the activities of News Corp are conducted primarily in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. More information: http://www.newscorp.com.

Elliot Richardson

Elliot Richardson is the President and Co-Founder of Dugout. Elliot has 30 years’ experience in the financial sector and enjoys strong contacts in the football, sport, music and the business world. He has been an advisor on risk to the IOC, Formula One teams and to leading football clubs and has managed businesses with a global footprint, including CEO of Aon Broking – coordinating 26,000 people across 500 offices worldwide.

Elliot has a strong track record for building start-up businesses, managing them on a global scale and can attract leading talent to these businesses. Elliot is Chairman of RK Harrison part of the Hyperion group of companies and has also served on British Airways global advisory board.

Simon Greenberg

Simon Greenberg, 48, is the Global Head of Rights for News Corp and Head of Dow Jones Sport. For the majority of Simon’s career, he has worked in sports related roles, starting as a sports journalist for national newspapers in the UK before he became Communications and Public Affairs Director for Chelsea Football Club in 2004.

In 2009, Simon became Chief of Staff of England’s 2018 FIFA World Cup bid before joining News International, now News UK, News Corp’s UK newspaper subsidiary, which owns The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times as Director of Corporate Affairs.

He subsequently joined the parent company, News Corp, in 2011. Simon is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.